Conman who benefited by £98k from fraud ordered to pay back just £1 in crime proceeds
A conman who has preyed on the generosity of Good Samaritans to dupe them out of tens of thousands of pounds has been ordered to make a nominal GBP1 crime proceeds confiscation payment. That is despite Scott Hanson having benefitted by an estimated GBP98,777 from his latest crime. The 38-year-old defendant, formerly of Hartlepool, but more recently said to be of no fixed abode, received a 32-month prison sentence at Durham Crown Court earlier this year, having admitted a single count of fraud by false representation at a previous magistrates' court hearing.
His sentencing hearing, in May, was told the most recent fraud was committed while Hanson was on licence following his release midway through a 30-month sentence for defrauding a devout churchgoer of GBP27,000, in Cockermouth, Cumbria, in 2018. Read more: Fraudster made repeated promises to pay back loaned money, which were never met The court heard his activities last year came to light when Lloyds Bank staff in Durham became suspicious over unusually frequent withdrawals of money made by a long-standing account holder, in his 70s.
When staff asked about the uncharacteristic number of withdrawals, the account holder gave vague replies, arousing suspicions he may have been the victim of fraud. In line with bank protocol it was reported to police and officers went to the branch to meet the victim, who told them he had been lending money to the defendant. He said he first met Hanson while volunteering for a charity that helps homeless men to find a bed for the night, even putting him up himself, on some occasions.
The victim told police he was aware that Hanson had spent some time previously in prison and said he provided him with funds for train tickets in the past, money he did not expect to be repaid. Having lost touch with him for some time, the defendant contacted him in January last year, when he again began asking for loans for various sums for help to pay fines, rent, property repairs and rail tickets. He claimed he would repay the money from an GBP81,000 inheritance from a lady called 'Margaret' he claimed to be due to receive.
The victim believed Hanson's story of having a job with Asda and that he would be able to repay him from his earnings and from the money from the will. Read more: Pair from London found guilty after fraud trial in Durham He said he had also provided money for the defendant to undertake a forklift truck driving course as he believed it would improve his job prospects and earning potential.
But the victim said the repeated promises to repay the money, even when Hanson was given deadlines for payment, were never met, while demands for further "loans" continued. The victim estimated he had been defrauded by GBP63,000 over six months to June last year, money that he genuinely inherited himself, from his parents. At the sentencing hearing the amount involved was disputed, but a figure of GBP50,000 was agreed between defence and prosecution.
The court heard Hanson's 20 convictions, for 35 past offences feature four for fraud, including one dating from 2009 involving the same victim. Fiona Lamb, in mitigation, conceded there were "aggravating features" to her client's crimes but she said he did plead guilty at the earliest opportunity. She told the court he has found it hard to gain regular employment due to the time he has spent in the prison system.
Judge James Adkin described it as another example of the defendant befriending someone before making false promises to pay back loaned money. Imposing the 32-month prison sentence, Judge Adkin made Hanson subject of a lifetime restraining order forbidding him from contacting the latest victim. Wheels were then put in motion for crime proceeds inquiries to begin to investigate what money could be claimed back from the defendant by way of confiscation.
But when the case came back before the court for the crime proceeds application today (Monday September 12), the hearing was told the benefit figure from Hanson's activities, with interest, was agreed between the Crown and defence as being GBP98,777.72. The defendant, who is serving his sentence at HMP Northumberland, was said to have no realisable assets and a nominal payment figure of GBP1 was agreed. He has 28 days to pay or risk a further 14 days in prison, in default.
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